His Scandal, by Gayle Callen

>> Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'd never read anything by Gayle Callen. The first book by her that I've tried is the second in a trilogy, His Scandal (excerpt). This one comes after After His Betrothed.

Lady Emmeline Prescott is shocked when Sir Alexander Thornton, the most incorrigle scoundrelin England, suddenly notices she even exists--and starts flirting with her!

To win a wager, Alex must win a kiss from an innocent maiden. But first he must get past the gigly girl's chaperone--her straitlaced older sister, Lady Emmeline. And to his dismay, it is the enchanting, levelheaded Emmeline who intoxicates him with her soft sensuality and emminently kissable lips.
His Scandal just barely missed an A-range grade. My grade: a B+.

The development of the relationship between Alex and Emmeline (and that was practically the only emphasis of the whole book: the suspense subplot was so flimsy as to be inexistent) was a delight. Alex was a wonderful hero, a guy who seemed a bit of a scoundrel but had hidden depths. He fell for Emmeline fast, in spite of trying not to, but he knew he'd not be considered good enough for her, so he knew he had to behave honourably. I loved how he started being attracted to her, liking her, wanting to be with her all the time. It was very sweet, as were the scenes in which he finds himself getting jealous.

The setting was not very common, Elizabethan London. I enjoyed the way it didn't overwhelm the story with political and court intrigue, but gave the book a different flavour. The language might have felt a little anachronistic, but truthfully: I really prefer not to have to wade through 'twoulds and 'twas all over the place.

The only reason I didn't give His Scandal an A-range grade was that after the incredible tension generated between Alex and Emmeline throughout the book, the final scenes, didn't give me the emotional pay-off I was expecting. The ending was nice, and quite refreshingly original, but I don't know, I felt it lacked something.

I don't think I'll be getting book # 1, but # 3, His Bride, sounds interesting.


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